BOTSWANA: Another Dream Hunt This Time With NKWE SAFARIS & Jaco Visser

matt vejar

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I just returned from another dream African hunting and fishing Safari in Botswana. The dates were May 14-May 29. I have long been in search of a 55” kudu - a true biggie! Man did I make the right decision choosing Jaco Visser and @NKWE SAFARIS a sponsor on this site. His area near Ghanzi is Kudu heaven. He hunts on several cousins ranches and and neighboring friends farms which total thousands of acres of free range and fenced hunting. The lodge on his cousins 30k fenced game farm was where I stayed. It’s a very African tented hunting style lodge that any hunter would love. Next year he will have his own new 25k fenced hunting lodge bordering the Kalahari Game Reserve. If I’m alive I will be there next year!

Anyways to the hunt. Day 1 is breezy and spitting just a shower here and there. Not your best weather for free range hunting but we’re hunting on the neighbors 75k free range ranch that borders with his cousins fenced reserve. Not 20 minutes into the hunt we spot a kudu cow on the road. As we drive closer they spot the bull with several cows moving off. I see the bull and he looks big to me. I’m waiting for Jaco to look at the curls as 55” inch bull is very big! He immediately says shoot. The bull stops at 40 yds and the shot drops him in his track! As we walk up I see the deep curls. I’ve shot several kudu both Greater and Eastern cape and know immediately he is much bigger than my best 53” from Namibia. Jaco does a quick hand measuring technique I’ve never seen before and says he might make 57”. No one has a tape but I know he is a biggin, later in the hunt we measure him and sure enough he is 57” on the dot. An amazing trophy and it’s only day 1!! I thought I had used up all my good luck In Mozambique last October but I guess I’ve got a little left! Little did I know I actually had a lot left!!!

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Day 2 the weather clears a bit but now windy and although we drive the length of the same property and see several bulls in the morning only one is big and he doesn’t stop for a shot. We see one monster warthog but this ranch has high grass and thick brush and I am not quick enough to get off a shot. At 65 I’m not as good as I once was! That evening we see a really thick horned bull that is wide that stands for a shot. Jaco is sure he is not 55” so I pass but never the less he is a superb animal which most anyone would be glad to have in their trophy room. The camp cook Godfrey who has been cooking for 7 years at this camp is turning out some of the best food you will ever eat and I’m getting to know my father and son trackers/ drivers so camp life is fun and all is well.

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Day 3 Weather is glorious today and we head to his cousins ranch maybe hour plus drive toward the west of Ghanzi and the Namibian border. We’re hunting Waterbuck here and Kudu. This property is 20k and is fenced on 3 sides and opens to government land. It’s truly fair chase hunting as is loaded with waterbuck and big kudu as I would soon discover. Thick cover once again requires George and his son Bertie who has joined us because of a two day holiday from school which gives him 3 days to be in the bush with his dad and buddy tracker and childhood friend George. At 18 George and 15 year old Bertie gives us the added eyes which help in the thick bush. They spot a kudu bull with a cow at 80 meters off in the bush. Jaco says the bull has a first curl that go around his ears which is a sign that he is very big. We cannot see his tips or the rest of his horns but I know from experience that big bulls who have a big first curl have a chance to be a monster so I look and see the curl and tell him I’m shooting. As the cow in front slips past him I touch off shot and now it good! Although their is no blood some 40 meters away Jaco almost steps on bull as it moves in front of him. The bull can’t get up but I shoot him in chest to finish him quickly! He has the wide curl but not the long tips like the first Kudu but later tapes 55.5” and another great trophy! We drive to the ranch house to have the workers retrieve him and sit by a waterhole for lunch and a rest.

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Other bulls we spotted after lunch looking for Waterbuck. Both are 55”plus! Maybe next year. We spot a waterbuck I try a push through the bush but he doubles back on Bertie and George. The bush is thick and driving is our best option. Just as the sun is waning they spot a big waterbuck, I cannot find him in the scope looking into the setting Sun at 100 meters and he is gone. I’m thinking we might have to return her later in the hunt when Jaco says shoot that one some 300 meters down the road. As I look through scope all I see is head and horns. Jaco stands and I shoot off his shoulders! The shot drops him. My best shot of trip. He said to shoot below his nose and it stuck his neck!! My fifth waterbuck is a wide one that later tapes 29.5”. One of my best days hunting in Africa. George and Bertie are earning that
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candy big time!!! Father/Son Tozzy and George - bushman trackers.
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What a day. I’ll post the rest of the hunting and fishing later.
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Wow! What a great kudu on day 1!
 
Awesome animals. Congrats on a great hunt. Looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip.
 
Congrats and thanks for sharing!
 
Great pics and stories, Matt - Thank you! Our foursome is heading to Jaco's next week and I'm pretty damn stoked for my first trip to Africa at 70. Looking forward to seeing more pics and reading more details of your "excellent adventure".
 
Beautiful Kudu's! Looks & sounds like a wonderful trip!
 
Day 4 We decide to hunt Kudu again in the morning on the free range ranch -rain and wind is threatening- we see a cow down the road just as we get situated on top of the Land Cruiser and then a big kudu shows and crosses the road before I get a shot. We bail off and quickly cross the barb wire fence hoping to see the bull for a quick shot -probably off hand- we spot a big one horned bull but in the high bush visibility is tough. Jaco says the bulls are going to fight but we never get a good look at them again-only the torn up soil where they fought and the fleeting flash of one of them leaving. The rest of the day we spot a huge warthog but can’t get a shot. We see a few kudu cows and small bulls but movement is minimal and we back for lunch. As we head back out around 3 pm we see a huge front coming with lightning and rain imminent. We decide to head back and wait out storm. We make a last ditch effort for Eland back at the main ranch. We get on some tracks but nightfall doesn’t allow us to catch up to them.
Day 5 We decide to hunt Eland. We cut some tracks on the road and start tracking. In two hours we catch the group of bulls. It seems like an easy shot at maybe 60 meters but I make a bad shot and after 3 more hours of we decide the bull is staying with the herd and with all the tracks and no more blood it will be impossible to figure out which animal it is and give up the chase. An Eland is a huge animal and misplaced shot can be costly. I’d only lost a steenbok and a gemsbok cow in all my hunts but this one stung because of the short distance of the shot and such a large animal. Anyways we head back for lunch. That evening we drive and see two bulls just 45 minutes or so before nightfall. We jump off truck and start tracking but once again darkness catches us before we can catch up to them for a shot. Off all the antelope Eland is my favorite hunt. The tracking and anticipation of catching up to them is addicting!!
Day 6 We’re back on the hunt for Eland. We cut some tracks early. We follow for hours. Other animals bust us and send the Eland off we catch them again and cannot get a shot. It is getting close to new so we call for the truck to pick us up. When we get to the road which is on the high fence. The Eland are standing on the road and break inland and we sprint back only to get a flashing look at a big bull running back towards road -this all in 10 yds and 20 seconds- as we get back on road the bulls are running down the road as I get on sticks one of the bulls runs into the fence and they all turn inward off road and are gone! Crazy. The vehicle shows up and we unload rifle. While driving back to camp along high fence. We’re drinking a soda George spots a huge kudu bull standing in some brush and trees not 10 yds on the other side of fence that another cousins property borders the game farm to the north. The bull breaks cover and Jaco says shoot!! I click off safety and pull the trigger at running bull! Click!! I forget we had emptied chamber. I Jack one in and bull miraculously stops in some thick cover at 80 yds. I pick and opening and squeeze off shot . Bull cartwheels backwards and is down. We squeezed through the high fence and walk up to the down bull. He’s a beautiful old bull that Jaco has seen twice in the past 3 years while driving that property. A precious Client had passed on the bull 2 years ago to Jaco’s dismay. It is a very narrow bull with 6 “ distance between horns. Old and heavy the bull taped 54.5” on the long horn as the other was worn and chipped down. What a trophy.
What a spot by George!!
That afternoon we head back out for Eland . We cut some tracks and take up the chase. But once again after 3 hours of tracking we cannot get a shot at the Eland and just before its pitch black we see an herd of Zebra. Jaco picks out the male and the 125 yd shot off sticks drops him in his tracks! Other animals or shifting wind is what makes Eland hunting so much fun. I’m really regretting my bad shot!!
Another great dinner and it’s early to bed for me after a little wine as I’m little tired from the long walks.

Day 7 We jump a 2 bulls right out of camp. Maybe a Kilometer down road. We take up the track. We’re looking into the sun but the wind is good. By moon we give up the chase as they turn with the wind and you’re never gonna catch them!!
That afternoon a lone bull jumps across road and I feel this is the one. He soon joins up with others we probably hadn’t seen and although we catch them right at dark we bump into s herd of cows and while maneuvering around them darkness once again dashes our chance as we see the bulls flash into the bush. “ We just needed 10 more minutes “ Jaco states in disgust. The tracking by Jaco and Tozzy is really remarkable but we just can’t catch a break. Tomorrow is last day.
Last day We drive and once again spot some bulls. We take up the track. Within an hour we spot them at 30 meters in thick brush. Jaco says shoot as I squeeze the trigger the bull breaks. I thought the shot was good as we find blood quickly, but soon we’ve gone 500 yds and the blood is drying up and we bump a huge group of cows and tracks are everywhere. I think here we go again! I began to analyze the shot and I realized I did swing gun on the movement of Eland and I bet I hit him to far back! Good news the trackers find where he laid down. Good blood but he got up while others milled around him. We’re back in business. We loose all blood and now which one is his track several hundred yards latter? It’s been 2 hours since shot was fired and miraculously in the midsts of nowhere George spots a speck of blood in the Kalahari sand!! The lone bull track is heading off by it self! We’re back in business . To make along track job (6 miles) short. 2 hours and 2 shots later my final shot running breaks his neck.
 
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What a track job is all I can say. They saved my bacon. You can see it photo the shot was back but thank god it caught the liver!
 
I only have two Kudus, but I can see myself hunting them again. I can't get enough of them. Congrats on some beautiful animals taken.

Did you have a package hunt, or just went along with what Africa had to offer?
 
I went to hunt Kudu,Waterbuck, and Eland because I new from others that his concessions had very large kudu and waterbuck. I always hunt Eland because in my opinion they are the most exciting hunt besides Cape buffalo in Africa if tracking is your thing!!!
 
Congrats for a great hunt and very good trophies !

Thanks for sharing.
 
Outstanding hunt! Thanks for sharing.
 
To finish up my trip to traveled to the town of Shakawe some five hours away from Ghanzi near the Nambia border. His brother Lampie has a home and rooms for guests there. This would be our home base for Tiger fishing. The boat is kept at their friends home. Ruan and Donell are lifelong friends and are some of the most gracious people I have ever met!!! And boy did we have fun. The fishing was superb. Jaco knows the river and has many hot spots. I believe we were extremely lucky as the fish were biting exceptionally well for the time of year we were there according to Jaco. We casted copper spoons and the strike and fight of these fish has to be seen to be believed. Larry Dahlberg first caught them years ago on the Zambezi river and called them the greatest freshwater fish and I have to agree. I’ve caught lots of salt and freshwater fish on a fly and conventional gear. They’re by far the craziest fighting freshwater fish I’ve caught. Some were up to 7/8 pounds and the drag pulling and leaping ability if Tiger fish is awesome!! From small to large a great game fish. A stripe bass look with orange and red flames on the fins and serious teeth is the look of fun on the end of your line!
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Jaco is cannot only spot and track game but is a superb fisherman and loves it. We pounded the fish for 3 of the best days of fishing I’ve had and to see hippos and big crocs along with the bird life- pretty special. I also caught one of the the largest bream species to boot!
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Well unfortunately my trip to Botswana had finally come to end. My only regret is not having discovered this wonderful country sooner. The travel is easy and country beautiful- especially the Okavango Delta- the jewel of the Kalahari!! Don’t miss out go there. As for Jaco and his hunting camp I have found no better after many trips including Tanzania and Mozambique. You can track Eland to your hearts content and look for kudu till you find that dream bull. I new I was in for a great hunt when my guide Derren In Mozambique said he new Jaco Visser and he was a fantastic hunter. Little did I know that no truer words would ever be spoken. Do yourself a favor and go check out “The Botswana Way”.
 

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What a fantastic safari and fishing trip. Thanks for taking us along!
 

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